On a budget friendly blog such as this, many people might ask "How can you afford to buy organic?" It's true, these products do carry a slightly higher price tag, but after a tour of the Stonyfield organic farms in Vermont, I am asking myself "How can you afford not to buy organic!"A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to participate in a "Barnstorming" Tour along with three other bloggers. (From left to right: Valerie, Anne, Tina and Me) The wonderful people over at Stonyfield organized the event to educate us (and in turn, our readers!) about the organic farming process. Stonyfield is dedicated to organic living and producing healthy food. I have to say, after a few days of learning about the organic farming process versus conventional farming, I am convinced!
I took so many photos on this trip and there were too many to post here! Check out the galleries on Facebook: Farm Photos and Factory Photos. If you want to really experience the "Barnstorming" Tour for yourself, check out this video with highlights from the trip.
The truth is, cheap food comes with hidden costs. From heavily fertilized corn to conventionally farmed meats packed with antibiotics, these unhealthy calories are getting passed on to you. We learned so much about the organic process, but there was one thing that really stuck with me from this trip. If you ask a conventional farmer about the lifespan of their cows, he will often tell you around 4 years. When you ask an organic farmer the same question, he will proudly point out cows who are 14 years old. All without fertilizers, pesticides, hormones or antibiotics. Our health and our lifespan mimics what we consume. I would rather live a long, happy and healthy life just like these organic cows! To me, it is worth a few extra dollars here and there on a grocery bill.
Upon returning from Vermont, I came home to a sparse kitchen and discovered some bread had gone stale while I was away. In true "Budget Diva" spirit, I poured through my new Stonyfield Organic Yogurt Cookbook for a bread pudding recipe!
*Budget Diva Tip: Never get rid of stale bread. It is perfect for bread pudding!
Start by trimming the crusts off of the stale bread.
Butter the bread, slice in half and layer with raisins in baking dish.
Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
Pour custard mixture over the bread and let stand at least 1 hour or refrigerate overnight.
I love that the bulk of the preparation can be done in advance! When you are ready, bake the bread pudding at 350 for 45-60 minutes.
Pour the warm yogurt topping over the cooked pudding. I used the Oikos Plain Greek Yogurt and then added honey, but I bet you could use their Oikos Honey Greek Yogurt too!
I chopped up some walnuts and then sprinkled them on top. Check it out! Now that is a creative use of stale bread and a great way to incorporate a few of the Stonyfield organic ingredients!
Bread Pudding with Warm Honey Yogurt Topping
8 slices of bread, preferably slightly stale
1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup raisins
2 cups Stonyfield Organic skim milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Warm Yogurt Topping
1 cup Stonyfield plain yogurt
2 tablespoons honey
chopped walnuts (optional)
Lightly grease a 9-inch round or 8-inch square baking dish with butter or cooking spray. Cut the crusts off the bread slices, then butter the bread slices on one side. Cut each bread slice in half, then layer the bread in the prepared baking dish butter side facing up. Sprinkle with raisins.
Whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, lemon zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, if using, and vanilla. Pour the custard mixture over the bread and let stand at least 1 hour or refrigerate overnight.
When ready to cook the pudding, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the pudding until done, approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. When you poke it with a knife, the knife should come out clean. Cool slightly.
To make the topping, heat the honey and yogurt in a double boiler, stirring frequently with a whisk. Keep the water boiling for 1 to 2 mintues, then turn off the heat, so as not to overcook the yogurt. Pour it on top of the warm pudding. Top with chopped walnuts, if desired.
*Budget Diva Tip: If you don't own a double boiler (or don't want to splurge for one!) take two pots, pour water halfway up one of them and bring to a boil, then place another pot with the yogurt mixture above the boiling water and heat the mixture, stirring frequently with a whisk.
What are your thoughts on organic farming? Leave a comment here and you will be entered to win a Stonyfield prize package! Including coupons for free yogurt and even an awesome toothbrush made with recycled Stonyfield yogurt cups!